By kdawson from Slashdot's whole-lotta-shakin' deptartment
writes "Science Daily Headlines reports on research by Oregon State University marine geologist Chris Goldfinger showing that earthquakes of magnitude 8.2 (or higher) have occurred 41 times during the past 10,000 years in the Pacific Northwest. By extrapolation, there is a 37% chance of another major earthquake in the area in the next 50 years that could exceed the power of recent seismic events in Chile and Haiti. If a magnitude-9 quake does strike the Cascadia Subduction Zone, extending from northern Vancouver Island to northern California, the ground could shake for several minutes, highways could be torn to pieces, bridges may collapse, and buildings would be damaged or even crumble. If the epicenter is just offshore, coastal residents could have as little as 15 minutes of warning before a tsunami could strike. 'It is not a question of if a major earthquake will strike,' says Goldfinger, 'it is a matter of when. And the "when" is looking like it may not be that far in the future.'"
Read below for more.Read Replies (0)
By kdawson from Slashdot's last-shall-be-first deptartment
Ookla, the company behind Speedtest.com, Pingtest.com, and the bandwidth testing apps deployed at many ISPs, has gone public with Net performance stats
from 1.5 billion users (and counting). Their Net Index page
displays download speed, upload speed, and connection "quality" from the EU and the G8, to countries, worldwide cities, and US states. Beginning today, the company is also making detailed (anonymized) data available to academics. "Ookla will also start surveying users about how much they pay for broadband and how much bandwidth they were promised by their ISPs. The results of those questions will go into building a Value Index, which will show how much people around the world pay per megabit-per-second for Internet access. In addition, by collecting postal codes from Speedtest users, Ookla hopes to map broadband service to local economic conditions, Apgar said. The Speedtest data could give the US government far more information to work with in setting priorities for its National Broadband Plan..."Read Replies (0)
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '10 at 01:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's prince-of-a-company deptartment
Chris Jay Hoofnagle has a piece up at SFGate.com on what he calls the "privacy Machiavellis
," which are exemplified by Google and Facebook. (The article is adapted from a longer treatment published last year, called "Beyond Google and Evil
.") Hoofnagle heads the privacy foundation set up with money collected from settlements of privacy lawsuits against Facebook. From SFGate: "...you have no way to ask Google to stop this tracking. Instead, you can merely opt-out of the targeted advertising — the product recommendations. Exercising your privacy options creates a worst-case-scenario outcome: If you opt out, you are still tracked, but you do not receive the putative benefit of targeted ads. An illusory opt-out system is just one of the increasingly sophisticated sleights of hand in the privacy world. Consider Facebook's privacy options. .... Facebook can proudly proclaim that it offers ... more than 100 [choices]. Therein lies the trick; by offering too many choices, individuals are likely to choose poorly, or not at all. Facebook benefits because poor choices or paralysis leads consumers to reveal more personal information. In any case, the fault is the consumer's, because, after all, they were given a choice.
Reader Kilrah_il sends word that Google has just released a tool that could alleviate some of the above worries: it stops tracking by Google Analytics
for users of IE7+, Firefox 3.5+, and Chrome 4+. Perhaps Hoofnagle will comment on it here or elsewhere.Read Replies (0)
By kdawson from Slashdot's give-it-a-d deptartment
theodp writes "If Amazon hoped for honest feedback when it started testing the Kindle DX on college campuses last fall, writes Amy Martinez, it certainly got its wish. Students pulled no punches telling Amazon what they thought of its $489 e-reader. But if Amazon also hoped the Kindle DX would become the next iPhone or iPod on campuses, it failed its first test. At the University of Virginia, as many as 80% of MBA students who participated in Amazon's pilot program said they would not recommend the Kindle DX as a classroom study aid (though more than 90 percent liked it for pleasure reading). At Princeton and Reed, students complained they couldn't scribble notes in the margins, easily highlight passages, or fully appreciate color charts and graphics. 'The pilot programs are doing their job — getting us valuable feedback,' said Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener. Martinez notes that Reed, Seton Hall, and other colleges plan to test the iPad in the fall to see if it can do better."Read Replies (0)